E. H. (Ted) Nepia

Ngāti Kahungunu

Ted Nepia "taught in the Wellington, East Coast, Wairarapa, Waikato and Hawke’s Bay area, much of the time in Māori schools. He was Head of the General Studies department at Wellington High School from 1964 until 1968. Nepia was Secretary of the 28th (Māori) Battalion Association, wrote the narrative for the Battalion’s official history, and broadcast regularly in Māori for many years." He started the three year Māori language course at Wellington Primary Teachers’ College in 1972 and prepared the Correspondence School’s Māori language courses. Nepia was involved in Māori education for some 47 years as a teacher, principal and senior Teachers’ College lecturer.

Biographical sources

  • "Māori Language Course at Teachers’ College - Ted Nepia." Te Māori: The Official Journal of the New Zealand Māori Council 3.1 (1972?): 25.


  • "A People of Warriors." Te Ao Hou 37 (1961): 50-52.
  • Nepia reports on the 28th Māori Battalion Reunion hosted by Te Arawa in Rotorua in 1961. During the reunion Nepia noted a ‘strong feeling of Māori nationalism present among all the speakers’ and he also observed amongst the men a greater inclination to speak in Māori and a strong sense of solidarity concerning the welfare of Māori.
  • "Meeting at Iwitea." Te Ao Hou 43 (1963): 37.
  • Nepia describes the opening of the fifth Te Poho o Tahu meeting house at Iwitea Pa, near Wairoa. He notes that one of the distinctive features of this house is that the Māori designs have been painted rather than carved on the wall panels.
  • "Reunion of 28th Māori Battalion Association." Te Ao Hou 47 (1964): 45-46.
  • A description of the 28th Māori Battalion National Association Reunion held at Poho-o-Rawiri Marae in Gisborne during Easter, 1964, which was hosted by members of the ‘C’ Company - Ngāti Porou, Rongowhakaata and other tribes. At the Reunion, Nepia noted that the Secretary for Defence, Mr J. K. Hunn, did not muster the support of the gathering when he turned down the Association’s proposal for a separate Māori Training Unit in the New Zealand defence system.
  • "Te Wananga O Kahungunu Marae As Educational Centres." Multi-Cultural School 4 (1976-77): 28-30.
  • Nepia writes that despite the criticisms of Māori educators about the effect of New Zealand education on Māori children, few workable alternatives have been presented. Nepia discusses a scheme he devised called Te Wananga o Kahungunu which was focused on the Ngāti Kahungunu people of the Poverty Bay, Hawkes Bay and the Wairarapa regions. The course included ‘all facets of Māoritanga, which include the Māori language, the Whaikōrero, the Waiata Māori traditional and contemporary, the Whakapapa, local Māori history (and this includes historical links with the original Hawaiki), the weaving and plaiting crafts, carving, kowhaiwhai and tukutuku arts and crafts, and the development of the modern action song first as an art, and secondly as a popular form of entertainment. Finally the art of wielding the taiaha in the traditional style and its modern use is included in the scheme.’ In this scheme the marae is the classroom and different courses would be taught at different marae. The tutors are drawn from the community and will be paid government rates for night classes.
  • Reviews

  • Rev. of I, George Nepia: The Golden Years of Rugby, by George Nepia and Terry McLean. Te Ao Hou 45 (1963): 57.


  • Taylor, C. R. H. A Bibliography of Publications on the New Zealand Māori and the Moriori of the Chatham Islands. Oxford: Clarendon Press, Oxford UP, 1972. 97.